Easter morning presents this writer with the ultimate hope

The historian in me — I was after all a history major at what was then Mankato State University long ago — leaves me fascinated with this week in Christianity.And yet, sometimes I wonder if Holy Week doesn’t sometimes mirror today’s times, when opinions turn on a proverbial dime in a matter of days.Think about it for a minute: The arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem on what is now known as Palm Sunday was met with wide acclaim, yet four nights later, he was arrested and put to death the following day.Many of the same people who celebrated Jesus’ arrival were the same ones who went along with the crowds who supported his arrest and death sentence.Four days is all it took for them to change their minds and be carried away with the rest of the crowd. Even one of his most faithful servants, his disciple Peter, denied him three times during that long night so long ago.For Christians, of course, the story has a happy ending, one we’ll celebrate en masse Sunday morning when we head to Easter worship services.But that “mob mentality,” it’s kind of scary isn’t it?•••••I have, unfortunately, become one of those “C-E” Christians, something I know for my own spirituality I need to change.There’s a very good chance that the first time I’ll step into a church since Christmas Eve will be on Sunday morning.I have, quite honestly, not set a very good example for my boys when it comes to regular church attendance; in fact, my youngest son has become my inspiration in recent weeks.Yet, there are very few years I’ve missed an Easter service, just like there are very few years I’ve missed a Christmas Eve candlelight service.Maybe some of it is peer pressure, but most of it is that the message of Easter — even for people like me whose faith wavers back and forth — keeps bringing me back.There is a sense of renewal and rebirth each Easter, one that long ago captured me then and has enthralled me ever since.•••••Years ago, when I was just a pup, my parents always bought my sister and me new Easter clothes.Somewhere in a dusty photo album is a photo of me as a 9-year-old wearing a yellow suit. Yes, a yellow suit.Save for the boots and the head topper, I’m a dead ringer for Curious George’s “The Man with the Yellow Hat.”In defense of my parents, it was the 1970s, when fashion left a little – no, make that a lot — to be desired.In defense of Mom and Dad — mostly Mom because Dad wasn’t exactly a shopper — I thought it was pretty cool until I came out of St. John’s Lutheran Church, and my buddies said I looked like a banana.Of course, Gordy Pearson was wearing a lime-green suit while Mike Jaeger, if I remember correctly, was wearing the loudest red sports coat I’ve ever seen.The following year, as a know-it-all 10-year-old, I demanded brown pants, a white shirt and a conservative tie.Mom caved, thank God.But I’d give anything to sit next to Mom and Dad one more time at an Easter service, even if it meant wearing a “banana suit.”•••••My parents are gone now — Dad passed away in 2004, and Mom joined him a little more than two years ago.Right or wrong, they make Easter even more special for me, for Easter provides the hope that they are only gone from this life.I’m not sure where I wanted to head with this column when I started it, but I do know where I want to end it.One of my favorite movies of all time is Shawshank Redemption, and there is a line uttered by the character Andy Dufresne.“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”And even a “C-E Christian” like myself knows that the ultimate hope can be found on Easter morning. 

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